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Nowadays, just about every business, from the humblest trinket stand to the biggest conglomerates have bought into the social media “revolution.” Using these online sites and applications, companies have been able to reach out to their customers like never before, delivering their product and service offerings in a manner arguably more effective than just putting up a TV ad or a billboard.
Facebook and Twitter are the usual sites of choice, with Facebook having nearly a billion users all over the world (over a hundred and fifty million of them Americans) and Twitter sporting a smaller but nonetheless impressive following of over five hundred million active users. With the whole world increasingly more connected, these two giants social media giants and the rest of the social media sphere will become ever more integral to the lives of every wired individual and organization.
So, you bought into it too. Good for your company, I would say. A small business like yours would benefit immensely from the extra publicity and engagement social media brings.
But wait, before you dive into this and start getting chummy with your current and potential customers, look over these three bits of advice. You do not want an epic social media disaster to fall on your lap, do you?
Watch Your Language
People are generally more relaxed and candid over social media networks. Their sentences don’t look like they’re generated by a machine, and they take a lot of liberties when it comes to sentence structure, spelling, and punctuation.
If you are representing your company online, you should also loosen up a bit and lay off the jargon and business-speak. Make them feel that you’re just as human as they are, and are willing to converse, share, and listen. Sincerity is key.
Despite this warm and fuzzy environment (or a hellish one when hundreds of irate customers are cursing you and your ancestors over a bad product or service experience), you should remain polite and dignified in your exchanges.
Do not argue with your customers (the whole world is watching), but at the same time, don’t get too chummy and informal. You still have a customer – business relationship, do not lose sight of that.
Review Photos and Audiovisuals
Just as you are careful of your words, you should also be careful when it comes to other media. A pictures is worth a thousand words, right? Well, make sure those words won’t end up spelling disaster for your company’s reputation.
The picture above portrays GoDaddy CEO Bob Parsons standing over an elephant that he shot himself. He had his reasons, but regardless, images like these are potential powder kegs of online brouhaha waiting to happen (PeTA was none too pleased when they saw this). Your business does not need this kind of publicity.
To summarise: silly company costume party pictures are a yes, photos of company executive posing triumphantly over corpse of endangered animal he just shot, no.
Company Social Media Account is not Your Personal Account
This point has already been implied in the first tip, but this requires emphasis because a lot of small businesses are guilty of this. Learn to separate the entity of your company from your own personal social media presence.
If you feel that you cannot do this, as some business owners tend to be a little too committed and passionate about their own enterprise, it would be a good idea to have one of your people do it (hiring a “social media officer” is an option, albeit a costly one).
There’s always the option of having it outsourced, but given the volatility of this position, a lot of people suggest you should never outsource social media jobs.
With these ideas in mind, I hope you are able to bring even more success, (good) publicity, and prosperity to your growing business!
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